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Lemon Rice is a fragrant, zesty, and oh so easy side dish! Simple yet savory, fast yet flavorful, this rice recipe will become a favorite in your family!
Easy Lemon Rice
Move over, plain white rice! This Lemon Rice recipe will become your new go-to side dish for just about anything. I spent years serving boring rice to my family before discovering that adding a few simple pantry staples takes ordinary rice from bland to brilliant in no time! It’s not just healthy; it’s absolutely divine! It goes perfectly with Greek chicken, pork, shrimp, veggies, beef or lamb kabobs, or just on its own. The delicate lemon flavor pairs beautifully with simple spices that give off not only a glorious flavor, but savory aroma as well. Enhance your dining experience right in your own kitchen with this decadent yet simple long grain side dish.
Ingredients in Lemon Rice
This rice has a beautiful Mediterranean flair, yet only uses easy to find, simple ingredients. Here’s all you need:
- White rice – you can use any long grain rice you like, or basmati rice.
- Water – you can use chicken broth to add more flavor, or add a tablespoon of butter to your boiling water.
- Olive oil – substitute avocado oil or peanut oil if you like.
- Fresh lemon juice – I use the juice of two fresh lemons, or you can use bottled lemon juice.
- Garlic cloves – crushed or minced
- Ginger – just a pinch of dried ginger or zest some fresh ginger into the rice mixture
- Salt and pepper to taste
Additions and Substitutions to Lemon Rice
This easy rice recipe can be dressed up dozens of ways! Make it differently every time and your family will never get bored with rice for dinner. Here are a few ideas to add flavor to your grains:
- For extra crunch, stir in a handful of your favorite nuts: slivered almonds, pecans or cashews.
- Throw in some raisins for a delicious texture and flavor.
- For added flavor, try spicing things up with red chilies, curry leaves, chili powder, turmeric, fresh dill, parsley or mustard seeds
- No need to complicate the rice cooking process. Prepare your rice as you normally would, in a rice cooker, instant pot or on the stove top. Then add the extra ingredients as directed in the recipe card below.
- For an even creamier texture, I’ve seen recipes where the rice is cooked in broth and milk instead of water. The milk gives the rice a soft, creamy texture and flavor. I’ve never tried it in this particular recipe, but it’s next on my list!
- For a more authentic Indian flavor, add cilantro, curry powder (about half a teaspoon) or diced green chiles.
- Garnish with thin lemon slices and cilantro.
You can use white, brown, long grain or short grain rice with this recipe. The less starchy the rice, the better though, because you’ll want the rice grains to be separate rather then clumpy. This rice tastes much better without a mushy texture.
Fresh squeezed lemon juice is best, but you can easily substitute bottled lemon juice too; it still gives off that fragrant lemony flavor and aroma. In a pinch, lime juice can be used too.
Keep leftover rice in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days. You can freeze this rice in a freezer bag for up to a month. Reheat by placing in the microwave until warm.
What to Serve with Lemon Rice
This rice is delicious on its own or with any Indian or Greek style recipe. Here are a few of our favorites:
Easy Lemon Rice
- Cook rice in a rice cooker or according to package directions.
- Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
- Pour the sauce slowly over rice while fluffing with a fork.
- Serve and garnish with cilantro and lemon slices.